The sudden collapse of Scotland's Tay Bridge in 1879 killed more than 70 rail passengers and shocked the population

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Open University UK

May 1, 2022

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Last updated:

May 1, 2022

Duration:

Unlimited Duration

FREE

This course includes:

Unlimited Duration

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

Unlimited Duration

Description

The sudden collapse of Scotland's Tay Bridge in 1879 killed more than 70 rail passengers and shocked the population

An extensive inquiry was carried out, including numerous witnesses, experts and reports. Were the high winds that night to blame, or were poor design or mechanical failure at fault? This free course re-examines some of the original evidence from the Tay Bridge disaster.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • Critically evaluate disasters and their causes, especially from mechanical or material failures
  • Demonstrate the importance of systematic and rigorous analysis of disasters, so that future failures can be avoided or prevented.

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction 00:10:00
  • Learning outcomes 00:05:00
    • Overview 00:10:00
    • Earthquakes and volcanoes 00:30:00
    • Hurricanes and storms 01:00:00
    • Overview 00:10:00
    • Transportation disasters 00:10:00
    • Railways in Britain 00:10:00
    • Early disasters 00:25:00
    • Overview 00:20:00
    • Background 00:25:00
    • Description of the bridge 00:15:00
    • Bridge girders 00:30:00
    • Construction of piers 00:25:00
    • Building the bridge 00:25:00
    • Sunday 28 December 1879 00:15:00
    • Disaster! 00:30:00
    • Condition of the bridge: an overview 00:20:00
    • An introduction to the Board of Trade photographs 00:25:00
    • Photographs showing the detail: collapsed piers 00:30:00
    • Photographs showing the detail: partly collapsed piers 00:20:00
    • Photographs showing the detail: broken lugs 00:25:00
    • Photographs showing the detail: debris field 00:25:00
    • Photographs showing the detail: damage to pier 1 00:30:00
    • Photographs showing the detail: standing pier 28 00:25:00
    • Survey results 00:20:00
    • High girders and the train 00:20:00
    • Model for pier failure 00:40:00
    • Overview 00:10:00
    • Eye-witness testimony 00:40:00
    • Worker testimony 00:20:00
    • Loosening of tie bars 00:40:00
    • Expert evidence: an overview 00:30:00
    • Evidence of Henry Law 00:15:00
    • Casting defects 00:30:00
    • Fitment flaws 00:40:00
    • Design problems 00:45:00
    • Mechanical tests by David Kirkaldy 01:00:00
    • Bridge stability 00:35:00
    • Further evidence on stability 00:25:00
    • Pole and Stewart report 00:25:00
    • Conclusion of the BoT enquiry 00:30:00
    • Questions remain and myths persist 00:40:00
    • Further investigation is possible 00:25:00
    • Myths persist 00:15:00
    • New Tay Bridge 00:40:00
    • Forth Bridge 00:25:00
    • Tacoma Narrows suspension bridge failure 00:45:00
    • Conclusion 00:03:00

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